There are strong indications that Four men were in Chicago to assassinate John F.
Kennedy on November 2, 1963, twenty days before Dallas. Here's how it happened:
November 2, 1963, JFK was scheduled to attend the Armv-Airforce game at
Soldiers Field. Plans called for him to arrive at O'Hare around 11 a.m. and motorcade
This file has been transcribed from a poor set of photo-copies. The images in those
photocopies are, at best, very poor and I chose not to include them except to reference them
and provide any subtext attached.
The text in the original article was formatted in one to three columns per page and, to make
referencing the original a bit easier, I've referenced those columns as well. I hope I've
maintained the integrity of the original article to everyone's satisfaction.
Five years ago on a commission from Atlantic Monthly, I began investigating a Chicago
conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy just 20 days before Dallas. When I
asked the wrong questions and came too close to sensitive information, I was followed and
investigated by a Defense Intelligence Agency (D. I. A.) operative. By examining my own
file, I identified him and embarrassed the DIA into halting the harassment. There's a record
of their "project" in the credit bureau where it began, Credit Information Corporation, (named
Cook County credit bureau at the time). The DIA's inquiry listed my employer as Atlantic
Monthly although, that assignment was my only work for the magazine.
Unfortunately, the harassment didn't end until after my apartment was broken into. No
valuables were taken. But all my files were obviously and clumsily searched.
But that was five years ago, before Watergate, a different era. Today, when reporters edge
close to dirty government secrets, it is the agencies who become nervous. And they think
thrice before attempting the retaliation and tactics once common to the game.
My investigation, revived within the past eight months, took me to New York, Long Island,
Houston and Washington as well as through courts, warehouses, police stations and federal
offices in Chicago. Hundreds of hours scrutinizing federal, state and local documents,
dozens of interviews, hundreds of leads. And always with the Secret Service and FBI
working against me, doing what they could to make the investigation tedious, time-
consuming, and expensive. Perhaps they hoped the investigation would just disappear after
all the obstructions.
I hope they now know they must come up with the answers. It is simply unacceptable to wait
until the 21st century for the release of seventy or so top secret Warren Commission
[image(Edwin Black's signature)]
(relevant table of contents)
The plot to kill JFK
In Chicago Nov. 2, 1963
4 The scenario
8 The investigation
35 The cover-up
THE PLOT TO KILL JFK IN CHICAGO
A maze of evidence developed by other journalists and investigators has totally discredited
the Warren Commission and its claim that Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone and with no
particular motive, assassinated John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 in Dealey Plaza.
The shabby work of the Commission's investigation, the improper evaluation of ballistics
and trajectories, photographic evidence... any schoolboy can look at the Zapruder film and
see that JFK was fatally shot from the front right. So we BEGIN from the assumption that
the President was murdered by a conspiracy in Dallas, one which has not yet been precisely
detailed, but one which has been clearly outlined. A man 's shadow reveals his presence even
though his identity is unknown.
Our contribution to the ongoing national search for the truth has nothing to do with Dallas.
But by indicating a conspiracy in Chicago, just shortly before JFK was shot in Texas — a
conspiracy which the government preferred to forget — we hope to encourage others with
information to step forward.
Our work is divided into three sections: Scenario, Investigation, Cover-up. They must be
read in order.
Don 't read one and neglect the others. Don 't accept anything you read in the Scenario until
you have read the Investigation of that information and the basis for our conclusions.
There are strong indications that four men were in Chicago to assassinate John F. Kennedy
on November 2, 1963, the 20 days before Dallas.
[image - no subtext]
Here's how it happened:
November 2, 1963, JFK was scheduled to attend the Army- Air Force game at Soldiers Field.
Plans called for him to arrive at O'Hare around 1 1a.m., motorcade down what was then
known as the Northwest Expressway to the Loop.
At Jackson the caravan would lumber up the Jackson exit, make a slow difficult left-hand
turn onto the street and shuttle over to the stadium. The Jackson exit would be crowded with
no fewer than 45 local school and civic organizations anxious to see the President. As in
Dallas, JFK's limousine would pass through a warehouse district — which Secret Service
advance men considered 10 times more deadly than any office building corridor.
As in Dallas, JFK's limousine would be forced to make a difficult 90-degree turn that would
slow them to practically a standstill.
As in Dallas, triangulation of fire would be simple because of the unobstructed view. As in
Dallas, the crowd would panic, allowing the assassins to escape unnoticed.
Wednesday, October 30, three days before our coordination meeting was held in the
anteroom of Mayor Daley's fifth floor City Hall office. Attending were various Secret
Service officials, three Deputy Chiefs of Police and Captain Robert Linsky, the security
liaison between the Chicago Police and the Secret Service. As the security plans for
Kennedys visit were mapped, each Deputy Chief was assigned an area of responsibility.
Patrol Deputy Rocheford took the airport; traffic Deputy Madl took the motorcade route and
its precarious passage under those deadly overpasses; Captain Linsky took the Conrad
Hilton, the stadium itself and various street security functions. Mayor Daley's special events
man, Jack Riley, stopped in to extend his boss' hope for a safe visit.
A few hours after that meeting adjourned, the phone rang in the Chicago office of the Secret
Service. Agent Jay Lawrence Stocks was for a few hours the ranking agent, so he took the
call. It was the Federal Bureau of Investigation calling from Washington. The FBI man
Nov. 2, 1963 — twenty days before
Investigated by Edwin Black
Stocks of a serious and dangerous four-man conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy at the Army-
Air Force game. The suspects were right during para-military fanatics armed with rifles and
telescopic sights. The assassination itself would probably probably be attempted at one of
the Northwest Expressway overpasses. This information came from an informant named
Stocks turn to the other people in the office and with disbelief related information, adding
words to the effect that the FBI wasn't sure how to handle the threat. These men were not the
typical nuts with a cheap handgun or some irrational score settle. They were organized, para-
military assassins. It wasn't a federal crime to kill a President or even threaten him (at the
time). And J. Edgar Hoover had decided since it was the Secret Service's province to protect
the President, the FBI would not, could not, participate in the investigation.
Shortly thereafter, the TWX, or inter-office teletype, clanged out confirmation of the
conspiracy from the office of Chief James Rowley, head of the Secret Service in Washington.
His instructions were to call every available man in from every other detail and concentrate
them in a coordinated blanket investigation to locate the assassins. The teletype added that
this would not be an FBI matter, but would be handled strictly by the Secret Service. The
buck had officially been passed.
The Chicago office was critically understaffed and unprepared for such a crisis — only eight
men for all assignments — counterfeiting, presidential protection and so on. Some
reinforcements were sent in from other offices around the country: most notable, Myron
Weinstein, a crack agent called in from Minneapolis.
A break came the next day, Thursday, October 31. A near north rooming house landlady
telephoned the Chicago police with a tip. Four men were renting rooms, and in one of them,
she observed four rifles with telescopic sights. In as much as she knew the president was
coming to Chicago in two days, perhaps there was some threat here. Would the police look
into it. The police immediately informed the Secret Ser-
vice. Acting agent in charge of Maurice G. Martineau scooped up the message and made the
connection. This was it.
A 24-hour surveillance was set up on the rooming house. Agent Jay L. Stocks spotted and
followed two men fitting in the landlady's description, all the time maintaining radio contact
with Martineau. Stocks was growing tired when the subject vehicle headed back to the
rooming house in the vicinity of Clark and division. Stocks, maintaining a discreet distance,
followed their car into an alley behind the rooming house. Unfortunately, it was a one-way
alley. When suddenly the subject decided not to park in the alley and turnaround to exit, they
were forced to squeeze past Stocks 's car.
Stocks saw the men driving his way. Tried to maneuver his car around in time, but couldn't.
A message came over the radio before Stocks could reach over and turn the volume button
down. As the suspects passed Stocks' car, they heard the radio message, looked him in the
eye and took off. Stocks reluctantly replied to Martineau that the surveillance was blown —
before any real evidence could be amassed.
Martineau thought, Bust them now, with or without the evidence.
The two men were taken into custody (but not actually arrested or booked) in the very early
Friday hours and brought to the Secret Service headquarters. There are no records that any
weapons were found in their possession or back at the rooming house.
The interviews and interrogation were conducted by Agent Stocks in the front interrogation
office and Agent Robert Motto in the rear interrogation office. Motto's suspect was of large
build with an extremely large head and mangy hair, wearing a short waist-jacket. By 10 a.m.,
the interviewing agents had coaxed nothing out of their suspected assassins. The only record
of their effort was the dozens of half empty foam coffee cups scattered throughout the office.
When the other agents in the office heard of Stocks' s rookie error, they couldn't believe it.
Every time Stocks emerged from interviewing his suspect, the agents would drop comments,
crack jokes and make fun of blocking the alley on a surveillance!
Thomas D. Strong, who fashioned himself above such mistakes, led the ribbing. Over and
over again he took the opportunity to get a little dig. Stocks hated it.
Meanwhile, two other agents had been following up a highly suspicious yet bum lead. The
man's name was Thomas Arthur Vallee, a 30-year-old ex-Marine classified extreme paranoid
schizophrenic by military doctors. Vallee worked as an apprentice at IPP Litho-plate at 625
West Jackson. As the patsy, he was perfect — as perfect for the Chicago assassination plot as
Lee Harvey Oswald was for the Dallas assassination plot.
Vallee was born and raised in Chicago. Like Oswald, he joined the Marines in the mid-50s
during the Korean War period. Like Oswald Vallee was assigned to a U-2 base in Japan;
Oswald at Atsugi, Vallee at Camp Otsu. The cover reference for the U-2 project at these
bases was Joint Technical Advisory Group (JTAG). Since the CIA exerted a strong presence
at these two bases, they were prime recruitment stations.
Both Vallee and Oswald appear to have been recruited by the CIA for "black missions" or
otherwise unsavory, personally discrediting assignments. In Oswald's case, at the height of
the Cold War, he was instructed and helped to defect to Russia. With him he carried top
secret radar codes. Oswald's mission, probably unbeknownst to him, may have been to
reveal this disinformation for some complex CIA intelligence stratagem. Warren
commission testimony documents that all these radar codes had to be revised because of all
the Oswald's defection.
Vallee was recruited about the same time to train members of a fiercely anti-Castro guerrilla
group. Objective: the assassination of Fidel Castro. Training locale: in and around
Levittown, Long Island.
Neither Vallee nor Oswald received money for their clandestine duties. The surreptitious
nature of the business was ego-building to their personalities... Inherently rewarding. Both
Vallee and Oswald had recently taken jobs in warehouses at the
[[image - no subtext]
planned assassination sites. Oswald at the fifth floor book depository on Elm Street in
Dallas. Vallee on the third floor IPP printing company looking out over Jackson Street exit
ramp where Kennedy's limousine would have been hit.
Both Vallee and Oswald could be shown to have extremist political views. Both owned
rifles. Both were basically loners. Basically drifters. Basically lowlife. The dregs of
society. Perfect for the work they were recruited for. Perfect for a frame-up.
They even resembled one another physically.
Arrested by Daniel Groth
while Agent Stocks was chasing his suspects around town, the two other agents were acting
on their tip about Thomas Arthur Vallee, a violence prone John Bircher. Information
received accused Vallee of threatening to assassinate Kennedy during a Chicago visit. The
source of the tip is unknown. But whoever pointed out Vallee knew his history and
personality and how law-enforcement would react to him.
In fact, he Vallee had spoken bitterly of JFK, blaming him for pulling air support off the Bay
of Pigs invaders. "We lost a lot of good men down there," Vallee would say. In his mental
state he may have verbalized, death threats against the president. But he does not appear to
have been connected to the real threat: four other men referred to in the Secret Service
Problem was, when two Secret Service agents surreptitiously visited Vallee's uptown fleabag
at Paulina and Wilson, they observed weaponry that classed Vallee as more than a
loudmouth, An M- 1 , a carbine, a
handgun and 2500 rounds of ammunition.
With the other members of Chicago is dismally understaffed Secret Service office following
other leads, the two agents telephoned Captain Robert Linsky for 24-hour surveillance on
Vallee, requesting he be "gotten off the street." Linsky was just about to enter a second
special security coordination meeting, this one in the auditorium of police headquarters at
1 1th and state. The president was due in tomorrow and Linskey had the massive security
task of Soldiers Field, the Conrad Hilton and downtown streets to cope with.
He made some telephone calls requesting to "sharp cops." One of the city's "sharpest" teams
were selected: Daniel Groth and Peter Shurla, were both working out of the task force.
Specifically, the "pickpocket detail." They were alert, sensitive, street-tough, efficient. They
took orders like sponges take water.
Groth and Shurla dropped everything and whipped over to 1 1th and state to attend the second
security conference. Linsky gave them their instructions. They left the meeting and set out to
find Vallee. He hadn't committed any crime yet. Remember, in those days, threatening a
president's life was no specific crime. The gun laws probably allowed him to keep the
weapons in his home. The surreptitious visiting agents had nothing more on Vallee than a tip.
But Groth and Shurla knew their job. "Get Vallee off the street."
November 2, Saturday morning Groth and Shurla had been tailing Vallee for some time
when they decided the moment was right. Vallee' s white Ford falcon was curbed by their
unmarked car as he turned west onto Wilson from Damen, heading toward the The
expressway entrance. Excuse: a left turn without a proper signal. Time: 9 a.m., just two
hours before Kennedy was scheduled to parade down the Northwest.
On Vallee's front seat, in open view, a hunting knife. Perfect. Groth charged Vallee with
unlawful use of a weapon, the knife, and the failure to signal a left turn. A search of Vallee's
person and the front of his car revealed no firearms. But when they opened the trunk, they
found 750 rounds of ammunition. Vallee had purchased the ammo at the Lawrence Ave.
Sears just a short time before.
Diem brothers assassinated.
The international dateline places an imaginary day between Chicago and
Saigon. Our November 2 is their November 1. And it was very early Saturday morning,
November 2, when the news hit Chicago. The Diem brothers — the corrupt rulers of South
Vietnam — had been assassinated by a CIA backed coup, by CIA sponsored assassins.
Obviously, the situation there could no longer be tolerated by a powerful right-wing military
faction in America. The Diem brothers just were running an efficient anti-Communist
campaign. They refused to operate as American powers-that-be dictated. They were an
obstacle. They were eliminated. Method: Executive Action, terminate with extreme
At home, the same powers were frustrated and unbelieving. This JFK must be some sort of
traitor! In addition to this Civil Rights nonsense; this silliness about moving to repeal the oil
depletion tax; this traitorous deal with Khrushchev promising never to invade Cuba and in so
doing selling out the Cuban people and tacitly endorsing Dr. Castro — in addition to all that,
this sonovabitch Kennedy was soon to announce that Vietnam was a great mistake for
America. The bastard was soon to an announce all our troops will be home by Christmas!
And he. First he sold out Cuba to the Russians, now South Vietnam to the red Chinese.
Like Diem, Kennedy was an obstacle.
At the last minute
Captain Linsky was in his downtown office when his phone rang with the notice of Vallee's
Groth and Schurla were already escorting Vallee to the Damen Avenue police station where
he was interrogated about his political views by detectives John Madden and Lawrence
Coffey. Vallee warned them that the country was in "serious trouble", unless Barry
Goldwater would be elected over Kennedy and ranted about how "only Mayor Richard
Daley's crooked machine could ensure Kennedy the ghost votes." he needed to beat a
Madden, "invited" Vallee to take him back to his Paulina Street apartment and permit them to
search. There was no time for a warrant, the president would be in Chicago in under an hour.
When Vallee refused, Madden threatened to drag Vallee into the "backroom." Vallee chose
to open his apartment to their search. Madden and Coffey sped with Vallee over to the
uptown address, not knowing they were worried about the wrong man.
[image - no subtext]
With information supplied by the two Secret Service men, they knew exactly what they were
looking for. They seized Vallee's M-l, his matched carbine and 2500 rounds, all purchased
in New York.
Vallee was transported to the 20th district where he was locked up during the hours the
president was expected to be in town.
Back at Secret Service headquarters, Motto and Stocks still couldn't break their suspected
conspirators. The minutes were counting down till Kennedy's arrival at O'Hare, less than an
hour away. And still the two remaining conspirators — if they existed — couldn't be found,
couldn't be traced. The two suspects pinched the day before remained in custody while
Motto and Stocks hit the streets. Motto raced over to Soldiers Field, checking the area
around Kennedy' s seats. Two sections were reserved for him. One on the Air Force side. A
second on the Army side. The president was scheduled to change sides during halftime.
Word from Washington.
The assassination of the Diem Brothers shocked Kennedy and his close advisers. But the
Chicago visit would not be canceled. Instead Pierre Salinger announced at 9:30 a.m., a
special communications facility would be Rush-constructed under the.Field bleachers to keep
the President informed on up to the minute developments in coup-torn South Vietnam. He
reiterated Kennedy would not cancel a trip.
But developments in downtown Chicago apparently were far more threatening than what was
going on in Saigon. Two men were in custody in Secret Service headquarters. This Thomas
Arthur Vallee character was in custody, his weapons confiscated. But if the original FBI
was accurate, two of the four alleged conspirators were still at large probably armed. They
were not frenzied maniacs racing across hallways or intersections with cheap pistols in their
hands. They were cool, militarized assassins. Identity completely unknown. Waiting
somewhere in Chicago with loaded rifles.
10:15, Saturday, November 2. People in Washington, aware of the unsettled security
problem in Chicago, absolutely refused to allow the president to fly to Chicago. The visit is
canceled at the very last moment. The press corps jet has even taken off. The excuse:
Kennedy had to stay close to developments in Southeast Asia.
Phones rang in Chicago bringing the news of JFK's cancellation. This was unheard of! No
notice at all? Someone hired sound trucks to cruise up and down the motorcade route
announcing the cancellation over loudspeakers to the waiting crowds. Mayor Daley was
piqued. Thousands more who had lined the streets, especially on Jackson Blvd. were sorely
But a handful of agents and investigators were intensely relieved. The two suspects could no
longer be held without an iota of evidence. They were released from Secret Service custody.
However, the shadow of the assassins followed JFK wherever he went from that moment on.
Identical warning of an assassination conspiracy was teletyped to the New Orleans office of
the FBI just before Kennedy's planned visit there November 17th.(A copy of the teletype was
recently acquired by CBS news and televised along with an interview of the man on duty
when it came across.) That plot was probably assigned to a second team. There is no record
of any New Orleans arrests. But obviously the plot was either neutralized or aborted for
some reason. It didn't stop JFK from safely visiting New Orleans.
It also didn't stop him from visiting Dallas, November 22, just 20 days after Chicago. As he
drove up over the most precarious of routes, through a warehouse district on Elm Street and
not even covered by the Secret Service advance men, as the motorcade lumbered to a fatal
pause in Dealy Square, shots split through the cheering crowd, Kennedy's head exploded into
tremendous bloody bits.
They finally got him.
II. The Investigation
Obviously, the information related to Chicago Independent by numerous sources and pieced
together in the preceding scenario was shocking. Every word of the scenario is predicated
on information gained from documents and interviews. All documents were double-checked
for authenticity. All interviews were compared to other independently gained information.
Where individual claims could not be either substantiated or discredited, the sources were
subject to either polygraph or voice stress analysis to indicate truthfulness. There is no
supposition, except in one area. We know Thomas Arthur Vallee was arrested and that his
background is accurately described. However, we have no way of knowing that the people
behind the conspiracy to kill JFK actually set Vallee up as a fall guy, as Oswald was set up
for a patsy in Dallas. We do not know who supplied the original information leading to
Vallee 's arrest. We speculate the conspirators were behind it. Now follows a complete
documentation and investigative profile of all the information in this scenario.
Documenting anything in the conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy is practically
impossible. Worse, theoretical, often false, statements have a way of reinforcing themselves
and slowly transforming into truth in the eyes of investigators.
Problems: 1) The biggest problem is sources. Most of them are insane, emotionally
disturbed, seeking attention or unreliable because of their illicit activities.
2) Key sources in a position to confirm or deny critical information are often dead. Not
necessarily because some grand conspiracy wanted to "X" off every viable witness. There is
good reason to suspect the deaths of many important witnesses in rapid succession during the
first few years following the assassination. Generally, they died under bizarre circumstances
(frequently suicide), usually on the day they were to render some important testimony or
deposition to an
investigative body. But in the Chicago plot, at least, people died from ordinary
circumstances, most of them during the past five years.
3) , reporters have distorted facts to sell newspapers. Assassination theories make great
headlines. Unfortunately, follow-up for authenticity is scarce.
4) . Most of the routine documents such as flight tickets, arrest reports, weapons, receipts,
and so on have been destroyed — either intentionally or because of normal purging
5) , The government is covering up the facts. Specifically, the FBI and the Secret Service.
Not because they were in on the plot. But because they botched the protection of the
president and the investigation of his assassins. They are covering up their own stupidity.
Their own ineptitude.
The disclosures about threatening letters Oswald delivered to the FBI ten days before the
assassination are only now surfacing. An agent has admitted destroying the evidence just
hours after the killing of JFK in Dallas. Former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover's closest aide,
William Sullivan, is quoted by Time magazine as claiming ten top FBI officials, including
himself were ordered to withhold information about the Oswald threat from the already
misguided, bluffable Warren Commission investigators. In any man's book, such coverups
are accessory to murder after the fact.
The one single foremost guiding principle we pursued in this investigation was trust no
source, trust no document, trust no government official, trust no eyewitness, trust nothing
until it had been so severely challenged, it could not be discredited.
Our main source.
Our main supply of information was one of the Secret Service agents on duty at the time of
the conspiracy. In cooperating with us, he broke the "old boy system" of the Secret Service
and regulations forbidding press contacts among individual agents. His terms: total
Our sources agreed to submit to a polygraph
test, as long as he could do so without being
anonymity. His motives: a desire to set the record straight. We agreed. He is afraid that if
his cooperation were uncovered by the Secret Service or the FBI, they would move against
them in small but powerful ways — as organizations can do to their disloyal. "They can make
life very difficult," he explains.
To verify his information, our source agreed to submit to a polygraph test, as long as he
could do so without being discovered. An unlogged appointment was arranged with John E.
Reid and Associates, the most respected lie detection and polygraph service in the nation.
Under an assumed name, our man flew from the East Coast to O'Hare, where he was met,
then shuttled to the loop.
The polygraph technician interviewed our man for about 45 minutes, then conducted actual
polygraph examinations for about 30 minutes. Our man was tested for his knowledge of the
original teletype he claims was received by Secret Service in Chicago warning of a four-man
conspiracy; his knowledge that the informants codenamed was "Lee"; his knowledge of
Secret Service agent J. L. stocks, surveillance and the suspected assassins' discovery of the
surveillance, and related information.
The test was inconclusive, Reid's tester explained 15-20 percent of the subjects examined
must return for a second shorter test before their truthfulness can be certified. He added that
deceit is generally quite easy to detect,especially among law enforcement personnel, who
already bear and emotional respect for the polygraph. And in our man's case, the lie detector
didn't come close to the deceit range, but did fall just short of the total truthfulness range,
requiring the second shorter session.
The Reid laboratory panel of experts explained that these indefinite tests were generally due
to subtle doubts in the subject line. For this reason, polygraph questions are structured with
extreme care. Reid's panel ventured that the subtle doubt could be regarding, the date
October 30. In fact, when the Reid examiner detected the indefinite response, he queried our
man about any doubts. Our man replied only that the specific date, October 30 troubled him.
Unfortunately, because our man had been interviewed and tested in a tiny cubicle for nearly
one and a half hours, he was psychologically unsuitable for additional testing at that time
(testing which would repeat the questions in a different phrasing to ignore the date and
concentrate on the main issue — the teletype itself).
After the test, the Reid panel pleaded with us to somehow return for a second short, 20
minute test — that's all they'd need to positively certify our man's truthfulness, assuming he
was telling the truth. It was a painful to tell them that it was impossible.
Persuading our source to go as public as flying to Chicago and submitting to a polygraph
examination was extremely difficult. He's already gone through a lot in his attempt to bring
the details of the Chicago plot to light. Regretfully, we can't expose the entire story here, lest
we identify our source.
His wife and family were against the polygraph. His minister was against it. His best friend
was against it. He was against it. He projected that the lie test would be just the first step.
More testing, then grand juries, Senate sub-
We promised we'd let no other investigative
Body get near him.
committees, reporters, and more reporters would eventually follow.
His life and his family's life would become public property. The sole basis under which he
finally consented, after long appeals, was that the single test be his last involvement. From
then on, it would be up to the rest of the country to scratch away at the facts. We promised
him that under no circumstances would we let any other investigative body get near him.
There would be no additional tests.
John E. Reid's tester even agreed to meet with our man in a neutral spot — such as a motel
room. Certifying his truthfulness was very important to the polygraph Institute, especially in
light of our man's far-reaching disclosures. But our source would not come in again. He
wouldn't even to discuss it.
Checking out our sources version of events at the Secret Service office just before JFK's
November 2 visit involved tracking men and documents. We began at the Southside home of
court activist Sherman Skolnick. Skolnick, whose local reputation has suffered within the
past few years, at one time held an admirable score of direct hits against corrupt politicians
and judges. It was Skolnick, who began the investigation into Otto Kerner's racetrack deals.
Skolnick had developed some leads on the Thomas Arthur Vallee arrest years ago, that never
went beyond the question mark stage. He even filed a freedom of information act suit
against the government to release more facts. He was ignored.
It was 2 a.m. on Saturday night as we drank coffee and reviewed documents in his possession
that at least proved there was a man named Thomas Arthur Vallee, the Secret Service was
concerned about him and Dan Groth and Peter Schurla of the Chicago police had arrested
I took copies with me.
subtext - Thomas Arthur Vallee as he was booked November 2, 1963
Records are gone.
Next step was to scour local records. We discovered that Judge Walter J. Kowalski's rackets
court was one of several handy depositories for security risks like Vallee or perhaps any of
the four men. In those days, federal agents without enough evidence for a federal warrant,
would drag suspects into a cooperative judge's courtroom. Some trumped charge would be
entered, say disorderly conduct, reckless driving or vagrancy. Just enough to keep the man
off the streets. Then depending on the judge's demeanor that morning, he would order a
suspended sentence, a fine or dismissal.
In a warehouse on Lake Street, and in Civic Center storage rooms, the county preserves all
the old dockets, the court records, from ten, fifteen, twenty years back. Each docket is
encased in a massive 30-pound ledger. After two days of searching for Kowalski's
November 2, 1963 docket, we finally found it. It Vallee's name and charge was located. In
addition, we checked out the records of every other defendant during the three or four days in
question. Dozens of good leads. No other results.
And we checked every arrest in the entire city on those two days. Who arrested them? Why?
Any weapons? It took weeks. In the process we'd developed leads: look for Cuban names.
Look for the name "Bradley." Look for the name "Braden." Nothing came of it.
Well, if Vallee was the only one arrested, maybe arrest records were the wrong route. Let's
think about the weapons. All weapons are inventoried when seized. The crime laboratory
tests them and, and issues a weapons receipt. We found the confidential weapons inventory
records. Vallee's rifles were registered. So were other long guns, but it was impossible to
identify them without the corresponding receipts. When we went looking for the receipts, we
discovered they had been routinely destroyed several years ago.
Working against us was not only a conspiracy, but a bureaucracy. It was impossible to cope
Tracking Motto and Stocks
Still, we did not have some documents to show. With them, we might convince a few agents
to cooperate. We'd have to track the original group, who had moved several times from city
to city in the
We found the confidential weapons inventory
Records, Vallee's rifles were registered
intervening twelve years.
First a word of background. We're told Secret Service men possess remarkably good
memories, especially where it concerns major conspiracies or other important crimes.
Furthermore, we're told that while serious, elaborate conspiracies are rather commonplace in
the counterfeiting business, which Secret Service investigates, they are quite uncommon with
regard to protection of a president. Most threats against presidents are from basically
unorganized, emotional, frenzied individuals easy to locate and put away — Not conspiracies.
Secondly, the Secret Service men who have served protection detail for presidential visits
generally recall the incident clearly. In particular, November of 1963 was of course the
fateful month for the Secret Service. In talking to agents and former agents, I perceived their
special awareness of where they were at the time of the assassination and how they help
protect JFK on any of his immediately preceding visits, including the planned November, 2
One of the most important men to contact them was was Jay Lawrence Stocks, the man said
to have first received the phone call from Washington about the four man assassination
conspiracy and the man who later conducted a blundered surveillance of the two suspects in
the alley. We tracked Stocks's movements within the Secret Service from the Chicago
office, to the Kansas City office, to the Detroit office where he is today. I located Stocks at
his home in the Detroit area.
In a telephone interview, stocks recalled the planned November visit but hedged on the
subject of conspiracy. At first he claimed to remember "something about a guy called
Vallee." Then he stopped himself and recited, "all I can say is. I have no specific
recollection, one way or the other. Maybe it happened, maybe it did. I just don't remember."
Pressed as to whether he flubbed the surveillance on two of the four subjects, thus incurring
the General office ribbing the next day, he answered with irritation, "I just can't remember
one way or the other. You'll have to
call Washington for more information."
We were eager to challenge our informant's information about Stocks and told him so, urged
him to think about it and please indicate whether our story was false. Stocks said he could
have no more comment.
Next we tracked Robert Motto, the man said to have interviewed to one of the two suspected
conspirators November 1 in the Secret Service office. Motto retired from the Secret Service
several years ago but still lives in Chicago. After some checking, we located him working as
an investigator for the Cook County public administrator's office, handling probate cases. A
meeting was arranged in a parked car and Diversey and Broadway.
Motto well recalled the planned November 2 visit. He affably told where he was on
November 2 — checking seats in Soldiers Field and related other details. But when the
question of conspiracy came up, Motto also suffered memory lapse. "Gee, I'd really like to
help you. For all I know, maybe there was
a conspiracy, but I can't be sure. I have nothing to be afraid of. The Secret Service can't
touch me. My pension's in. But I just don't recall."
Well, yes or no, did he interview a suspect? "I wish I could remember. I just can't."
Documents from DC.
Initial leads were all turning up dry. We would have to be happy to disprove our source's
information. But all at the "I can't remembers" were just too convenient. It's easy enough for
a man to say "no, that never happened" when you're asking if he was investigating a major
assassination plot. So something was there.
I called a friend in Washington, DC, who knew a lot about Secret Service and FBI records
and filing systems. He would help me gain access to some original files and reports relating
to The Warren Commission. The next flight to Washington was in 45 minutes I was on it.
I began going through the documents at 10 a.m. There were
thousands of them. About 1550 separate reports, each one anywhere from a single page to a
hundred pages. Many of these had been classified for years. Hour after hour, I studied the
FBI and Secret Service approach to presidential protection and investigation of threats.
The striking feature was the incredible diligence, the incredibly exhaustive level of
investigation. A telling example of Chicago investigations: somebody had heard a rumor that
their homosexual boyfriend had slept with Oswald several weeks before the assassination.
An agent worked day and night, tracking the source of the rumor, from homosexual to
homosexual, until seven persons later, he located the source, a bisexual male who claimed he
agreed he remarked "wouldn't it have been nice to sleep with Oswald."
Even more exemplary: a girl reports her friend who works at the Cokesbury Bookstore on
Wabash Street recalls talking to a strange customer a few days before JFK
Continued on page 24
Continued from page 11
was murdered. The strange man was "an avid fan of science fiction paperbacks." On the day
in question he remarked that "Martians were likely to invade Earth and assassinate all world
leaders." Presumably, that included Kennedy. No fewer than a dozen interviews were
conducted. When the customer was finally located, he admitted he enjoyed science fiction
and really wasn't predicting such a worldwide catastrophe as much as relating an interesting
storyline, and he'd read somewhere.
On and on, the investigations of kooks, nuts. Then Oswald, Ruby. Interviews with everyone
they'd ever known. Every phone call they'd made for six months before Dallas. Every check
they ever received.
In-depth. Leaving nothing to guesswork. Exhaustive.
Then I happened on some reports of the Vallee incident. The reports were strangely second-
hand. Based on a single surreptitious visit of the Secret Service agents to his apartment and
police accounts. His weapons were never checked. The serial numbers were never checked
to see if they were in sequence with any others uncovered in the Dallas investigation. Vallee
himself was not interviewed about his possible connections to anything in the Dallas
investigation... unlike the homosexual, the science fiction
lover... unlike anyone else of the thousands that came to the attention of the Secret Service as
they investigated Jack Kennedy's murder. They didn't even ask the routine question they
asked all the potential threats: where were you on November 22? They merely reported that
his employers claimed Valley was in Chicago on November 22 (a statement, these sources
later denied to me.)
Why? Why was everything being cut short on the Vallee case? What were they afraid to
It was late, about 9:30 at night. My eyes hurt. I stretched them to stay awake. I hadn't
moved from the little table where I was sitting for nearly twelve hours. There was nothing
more on Vallee anywhere. There were three strange top-secret memos regarding Lee Harvey
Oswald dated in Chicago I couldn't get my hands on. Other than that, zero. Nothing on any
conspiracy of four men — and records on that were more important to me than anything on
Vallee, especially since he was probably a side issue.
Then just at the end, I almost glossed over it. Unlabeled. Just a few terse sentences without
elaboration. Ten days after the Dallas assassination, FBI agents in Chicago paid a discreet
visit to Jose Mills, a Mexicana ticket agent at O'Hare Airport. The question: on Flight 800,
November 1, did a foreigner named Lee Martin fly from Mexico City to Chicago? The
answer: No, but one M. Lee, and one R. Martin were passengers on that flight. (Lee Harvey
many aliases, a favorite of which was O.H. Lee). Second question: On Flight 800, November
12, did a foreigner named Wilfred Oswalt fly from Mexico City to Chicago? Answer: no,
but J. Oawaslt was a passenger on the flight.
On a second sheet, a report dated the same day. Ernest R. Tobin and immigration inspector
at O'Hare was asked how the 1-94 forms, required for all such entering aliens, could be
examined. Tobin told the agents were to find them.
But the file indicates they never looked. They never tried to locate Lee or Martin or the man
known as Oswalt. Later, we checked with immigration. If the FBI or Secret Service had
followed up that week, they could've traced M. Lee, R. Martin, and J. Oawaslt. Now those I-
94 forms have been added to the master file — organized alphabetically, not by date or flight
number — it is virtually impossible to locate a single name (without more detailed personal
data) from the tens of millions of 1-94 or names listed.
Seeing this after all those exhaustive investigations, it appears someone asked someone the
wrong questions, received right answers and decided they didn't want to know any more. A
similar federal investigative pattern was to reappear over and over again throughout the next
decade until in Watergate, someone got caught. Obviously, the FBI didn't want to uncover
any complications. Why should they? Oswald was clean and neat. Leave it alone. I took
the last flight out of Washington back to Chicago.
subtext - FBI agents received good positive leads in response to inquiries about foreigners named Lee Martin
and Wilfred Oswalt flying from Mexico City to
Chicago. But they never followed up, even after pinpointing the records they needed. The basis for the inquiry
about the critical November 1 date has
Never been explained.
Page 25 '
Ken Lynch and Tom Coll
The next morning I turned to Thomas D. Strong, the man who reportedly led the office
ribbing the morning after Stocks muffed the surveillance. We traced Strong to an
intelligence unit of the Secret Service. We were expecting him to return our call when the
telephone rang with Ken Lynch at the other end.
Who is Ken Lynch? He is a Secret Service agent assigned to deal with unpleasant media
inquiries. He insisted the strong would not make any comment to us about any possible
assassination plot again as JFK, but could we give him the details.
We did and he promised to contact Strong and within a day or two respond in the following
manner, and we quote: "if the teletype and conspiracy existed, we'll answer truthfully that it
did, if we can. If it did not exist, we will of course immediately inform you that it did not. If
the teletype and /or this conspiracy did exist, but for some reason I wouldn't be permitted to
discuss with you, rather than lie to you and say it didn't, I would merely respond 'no
comment.' That's our procedure around here."
Shortly before that, we had filed a Freedom of Information action to gain access to the
teletype in question and other documents relating to the surveillance and custody. Soon after
we were contacted by the Freedom of Information officer, Robert Goff, who claimed the
Secret Service could no could locate no records that might confirm or deny the existence of
any such teletype warning of a Chicago conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy. Nor could the
secret service find any records of Stocks's surveillance or the interrogation of twos suspects
by Stocks and Motto. Nor could they determine if agent Thomas D. Strong had joked about
the foiled surveillance the next day.
I asked Goff if anyone had actually contacted Stocks, Motto, or Strong to check the
information. Somewhat embarrassed, he answer-
Continued on page 30
Continued from page 25
ed, "well, actually, no one had contacted them, no." I came back, "then how the hell do you
know, it is impossible to determine if the surveillance or interrogation occurred?" Goff
mumbled something, sputtered and blurted, "well that's all I can say. We're not going to give
you this information so you may as well give up."
We scurried back to Ken Lynch, remember? The guy who would tell us the truth, unless he
couldn't, in which case he would "no comment." Lynch delivered his official response to our
inquiry. "No comment on anything!" Can you even tell me if you were right or wrong, if
teletype exists? He repeated his frozen answer.
At one point, we demanded a reason for the "no comment." Lynch retorted, "here's one
reason. There is a freedom of information act inquiry on the entire subject. And therefore
we cannot divulge any information." Who submitted the inquiry? "Sorry," he came back. "I
can't discuss that."
Wait a minute. You're not by any stretch of the imagination referring to my own FOI action,
are you? "Actually, I am," Lynch answered. Incredulous, I told him I had already been
turned down on my request — and even if I hadn't, what difference would it make. I was the
same person seeking the same documents, whether through a press inquiry or through a
Freedom of Information action. Lynch seemed a bit startled to learn I had already been
down on my FOI action. "Really?" He said. "But I was told we were still studying just how
we would respond to you. No decision has been made." After that last slip, however, Ken
Lynch declared he had nothing more to say, period.
We tried the FBI, the agency said to have originated the conspiracy information through their
informant named "Lee." Here was a serious hole in our source's story. As everyone in the
law enforcement and the intelligence community knows, informants are never given name-
codes, only number-codes. So why was the FBI's informant in this conspiracy name-coded?
Even our own man thought this was illogical.
An unofficial source of ours in the FBI explained why once in a great while non-numerical
codes are assigned to informants. All Secret Service and FBI informants routine-
subtext - Incredibly sloppy, inaccurate, conflicting reports filed just 10 days after the assassination. A & Al)
No one knows exactly when the investigation of
Vallee began. Highly unusual. Confusion perhaps because the entire office was busy tracking down four other
men suspected of a massive conspiracy. B)
Fails to 750 rifles recovered from trunk. C) Quotes will charge. Assault and unlawful use (possession) are two
separate offenses. Assault
is far more serious, of course. D) specifies 300 rounds were recovered from Vallee's trunk. Vallee and
Detective Coffey confirm 750 rounds were actually
recovered. E) no one asked to Vallee himself about his whereabouts. And ask yourself this: why is the Secret
Service relying wholly on Chicago police
for their surveillance, investigation, searches and interrogation? Was the rest of the office too busy with
investigating a more massive conspiracy before the.
Coll blurted out, "I remember that case...
That was strictly a Secret Service affair."
ly receive a number code such as "834." The Service or Bureau maintains an extensive file
on each such informant, identifiable by number-code only. However, it's not difficult for any
federal intelligence agent to discover the identity of such an informant through a cross-index,
which lists the number-coded informants and their true identities. This cross-index is
supposed to be a secret.
Therefore, once in a great while an informant is so highly placed, so vital or so vulnerable, he
is assigned a non-numeral code. His identity is known only to his control in the Bureau or
Service. Such was the case with an informant known only as "D," whose classified
testimony about Lee Harvey Oswald in the American Embassy in Mexico was only recently
revealed through a Freedom of Information act suit.
This thinking may have also been the case with Lee, the man or woman supplying
information in on the Chicago assassination plot. For an official response, we contacted the
official Washington smoke screener, agent Thomas D. Coll, in charge of press relations. Coll
at first refused to check our claim, denying that the FBI originated the Chicago conspiracy
tip. I kept asking how he knew this for a fact without checking. He finally blurted out,
"because I remember that case. Some people were picked up. And I'm telling you it wasn't
ours. That was strictly a Secret Service affair. The whole Soldiers Field matter was a Secret
Service affair." When pressed on his civic knowledge of the Chicago plot, Coll grunted,
"you'll get no more out of me. I've said as much as I'm going to on that subject. Get the rest
from the Secret Service."
Robert Linsky remembers
Having been stonewalled and no-commented by everyone we contacted in the Secret Service
and the FBI, we turned to local sources. First on the list was Robert Linsky. We found him
working as a supervisor with Burns security in
Evergreen Plaza. After the police tavern shakedowns that scandalized his entire unit and sent
many of his direct subordinates to jail, Linsky resigned.
Linsky was reluctant to talk, but he finally consented to a taped to sit down in his far
southside office. This he remembered the planned November 2 JFK visit. He supplied
information about the security meetings in the mayor's office and the police headquarters
auditorium. And he confirmed information we have developed on the events leading to
Thomas Arthur Vallee's arrest, from the Secret Service request, to the selection and
assignment of arresting Chicago police officers Groth and Schurla, to the actual surveillance
and arrest of Vallee. The only area in which his information on Vallee failed was in the
ammunition found in the automobile. He refused to believe 750 rounds of ammo were
recovered. Even after we showed him federal documents to prove it.
While Linsky supplied much information about security in general, and Vallee in particular,
he denied any knowledge whatsoever about a four-man conspiracy. He said, "for all I know
there could have been such a conspiracy, but I wasn't in a position to be aware of it." Linsky
maintained this disposition no matter how hard pressed.
Later, the interview tape was subjected to Psychological Stress Evaluation (voice stress
analysis), which is a lie detection technique analogous to the polygraph. While John E.
Reid's machine measures, respiration and blood pressure, the PSE measures micro-tremors in
the voice which are affected in much the same way when a person is deceitful. Anthony
Pellicano Associates, a nationally recognized voice stress expert located in Westchester,
subjected the Linsky interview tape to PSE and adjudged his responses to be truthful.
Groth and Schurla
Next stop, Dan Groth and Peter
Schurla. Very touchy. You see, Dan Groth has quite a name in Chicago. A few years after
"this sharp cop" had done the Secret Service a favor by getting Vallee off the streets, he
kicked down Fred Hampton's apartment door and 99 bullets later two Black Panther leaders
were massacred — which many claim was another favor... This one to the FBI. In fact, Groth
has repeatedly been accused of being some sort of a CIA or intelligence operative brought
out of the deep freeze for special assignments when necessary. He's even been taken to court
by a number of legal activists who claim that Groth and the other States Attorney Raiders
that Dawn were really pulling a deadly dirty trick, black mission, whatever euphemism you
call it, for the CIA or FBI. And they predicated the suits on Groth' s save-the-day
involvement in the Vallee affair. The claim: if Groth wasn't a special federal agent, why
would he of all people have been chosen to pinch Vallee.
In all fairness to Dan Groth, there has been no substantiation to these charges beyond rhetoric
and supposition. In the process, however, Groth has transformed from a cool, tough cop to a
nervous pity of a man. His hair has greyed considerably. His family life has been ruined.
He's run out of answers for his children. He works two full jobs a day to pay off a massive
legal expense bill in excess of $17,000.
The Vallee affair has been enmeshed in suspicion because Groth and Schurla — either on
assumed or express orders from the federal government — covered up the exact nature of the
Vallee arrest. Vallee's arrest report indicates nothing about 750 rounds of ammunition and
Groth and Schurla have repeatedly denied arresting Vallee for anything more than a turn
signal violation. Even though the words M-l rifle appear incongruously at the top right hand
corner of the arrest report. Ross has always dismissed that as a "freak typo."
Vallee answered quickly and curtly: "Soldiers
Field. The plot against John F. Kennedy."
Groth was once a very good source of mine. During the height of the Black Panther raid
controversy, he granted the exclusive interviews. But when I contacted them this time, he
accused me of plotting against him. In a coffee shop across from the Chicago Avenue police
station where he works, Groth and I tried to negotiate terms for conveying information. He
rejected any and all guarantees of anonymity or confidentiality. But he did end the
discussion with this telling emotional outburst: "Dammit! I had the weight of my country on
my shoulders when I went out to arrest Vallee. Why is everyone trying to make me out a
I had no better luck with Schurla. While he hadn't suffered the stigma Groth had (since
Schurla was not a part of the infamous states Attorney raiding party), he was still extremely
jittery. This Vallee business had brought him to the attention of legal activists, who knew
fragments of the Vallee story and had subpoenaed him to testify, trying to prove his former
partner was CIA. That meant legal fees for Schurla as well. So Schurla refused to
acknowledge one word.
Until one day I visited him in his office on the eighth floor of police headquarters. Oh yes,
Schurla had gone up in the world. Now part of Chicago's massive police intelligence
apparatus. I sneaked into the eighth floor complex, where all the surveillance photos were
developed and confronted Schurla personally. Up until his time we had conversed only on
the phone. Before Schurla had a chance to back away, I fired the facts at him. He looked at
me nervously admitted, "Okay, if you got all that information, you've got the Vallee story.
Go ahead and print it." I thanked him for his permission.
Coffey confirms details.
We received greater cooperation from Sergeant Lawrence Coffey, who with his partner
Sergeant James Madden, interrogated Vallee, searched Vallee's uptown apartment and seized
rifles. Madden had died a few years before, but Coffey's
memory that was one of the most helpful. "Naturally, I remember every detail," he said.
"How often is anyone involved in a threat against the president's life? One involving a lot of
heavy weapons like this Vallee character." Coffey supplied most of the details, quoted in our
scenario about Vallee's interrogation. He ended his recollection with the statement, "you
know, with the president being murdered like that. Just a few weeks later in Dallas, I often
wondered if Vallee had anything to do with it. But I suppose the Secret Service talked to the
guy and check him out pretty thoroughly. Ruled it out, huh?" I answered, "No. You and
your partner were the only law enforcement people to interrogate Vallee. They didn't even
contact him after the assassination to check on his weapons or associations." Coffee
shrugged and capped, "I wonder what that means?"
Undercover in Houston.
The last step was to locate Vallee himself. Shortly after 1963, Vallee drifted to Indianapolis
found a good paying printing job. Confidential Secret Service records we examined showed that
when he moved, the Chicago office forwarded his file to Indianapolis. A few years later, he moved
on again, this time to Columbus. Once again the file was forwarded to the next city. This file also
reveals that in the fall of 1966, the Secret Service conducted its first interrogation of Vallee. Agent
Manpell called him in for questioning about his rifle serial numbers. Apparently, Vallee had quickly
replaced the weapons Coffey and Madden had confiscated. The file sections, we saw did not
indicate exactly why Manpell was checking Vallee's new weapons, but one Secret Service source
reported it involved the subsequent threat by Vallee against a Secret Service protectee, perhaps LBJ.
But even then, not a single question was raised about Vallee's 1963 activities in Chicago.
Recently, Vallee again drifted, this time to Houston. This Secret Service file did not list his
current address. But by checking with a source in the Texas Department of
Subtext-Groth and Schurla for years claimed the notation "M-l (rifle)" In the upper right-hand corner of the
report was a "freak typo." We now know Groth and Schurla recovered 750 rounds of M-l rifle
ammunition from Vallee's auto. Did "M-l (rifle)" refer to the ammunition or something else?
Motor Vehicles, we determine Vallee had applied for drivers license. Just a few months ago
and was now living in the rural outskirts of Houston. In a survey of printers turned up his
place of employ.
A few weeks ago, my barber gave me a crew cut, then I bordered a Braniff jet for Houston. I
carried nothing more than my toothbrush, and some tape recording equipment. I would pose
as a right-wing reactionary — which some of my friends joked required no pretending! My
name would be Eddie Brokaw. My objective: to coax out of Vallee all the details of the
incident surrounding JFK's planned November 2, 1963 visit.
Vallee's place wasn't far from the airport. He lived in a ramshackle mobile home park. A
guard dog chained to his door kept visitors away. I waited down the highway for his VW
van pass on his way home from work. It was 7 p.m. when I knocked on the door.
Restraining the dog with one hand, and holding a rosary in the other, he answered and then
invited me in.
It was a dump. Just a shabby sofa, a discarded coffee table and a few chairs in the trailer's
front room. The cooking area was piled with dishes, half-empty cans and packages, garbage
spilling out of bags. His bedroom is simply two mattresses, not even sheets. Cigarette butts
and ash heaps littered over everything. An oiled and polished capital M-l leaned against his
mattress. A high-powered hunters crossbow was visible underneath. A Springfield rifle was
stored elsewhere in the trailer.
I explained that Eddie Brokaw was part of some imaginary clandestine group, I called it
Special Operations Group. I was recruiting riflemen for a special operation involving Cuba.
But first I would have to check his "security ratings," which meant rehashing all the details of
the 1963 episode. I made it clear the entire account must be taped, which we would then
subject to voice stress analysis to determine truthfulness. The entire matter appealed to
Vallee and he was happy to join.
I began with a simple question: "what happened on November 2,
Subtext-the above fifth-generation photocopy was received
in this near illegible for. A better
copy is unavailable, it reads:
acting supervisor MARTINEAU, Secret Service
in Chicago reflects that there was only one ar-
rest on November 2, 1963 regarding protection
of President KENNEDY, who was expected to
be in attendance at the Army Air-Force game
to be held that same day. This arrest pertained
to THOMAS VALLEE, previously mentioned.
MARTINEAU added that there might have
been other arrests made that same day by
Chicago Police Department officers on charges
of "carrying a concealed weapon," but none of
these would have related to protection of the
President. He advised further that no individual
by the name of OSWALD was arrested on such
charges on November 2, 1963.
Note the extreme ambiguity for our supposedly
exhaustive investigation 17 days after the Presi-
dent's assassination. Were others are obtained but
not arrested, as was usually the case in such inci-
dents? Also, one of the few documents that
did not investigate "the name of Oswald or any of
his known aliases ( O. H. Lee, Aleck Hidell,
etc.)". This document almost hopefully
addresses the name "Oswald" without concern
1963?" He answered quickly and curtly: "Soldiers Field. The plot against John F. Kennedy.
I was arrested." He then supplied confirming details about his whereabouts, the arrest,
interrogation, the weapons, ammunition, where he purchased him, and his political beliefs
about JFK and Mayor Daley. Staccato account was punctuated with Stern typical military
cliches such as "negative," "affirmative," and "niner" for the number nine.
But while Vallee admitted everything about the guns and his whereabouts, he patently
denied. He actually threatened the President, or even considered doing them any harm.
Vallee claimed he was framed. Framed because with his openly anti- Kennedy sentiments, he
could easily be believed to have threatened the president. Frame by some of the special
about him. It seems at first information about Vallee identified his middle name does
"Patrick." His middle name is actually Arthur, but he wants use a middle name Patrick to
enlist at an early age in the Marine Corps.
He also gave specifics about his CIA assignment to train exiles to assassinate Castro. And
he confirmed that he was never called before the Warren Commission or even interviewed by
the Secret Service on anything until 1966. Even Vallee thought that was remiss on general
His information checked out with everything we had compiled independently. And when we
voice stressed the tape, we found his account to register truthful. Although truthfulness is
difficult if not impossible to accurately gauge (even within the normal margin of error).
When the subject is so far from reality he may believe his own fabrications to be the purest
Yet if Vallee was just a lone nut who wasn't dangerous to anyone, and if our investigation
wasn't turning up anything substantial, why is it that when I was talking to Vallee in
Houston, a Chicago Secret Service agent named Tom Hampton was discreetly investigating
Eddie Brokaw. Hampton called our office, identified himself and asked whether we
employed a reporter named Eddie Brokaw. And could we furnish any information on him.
Hampton was told his call would be returned.
When I arrived back in Chicago, I was told of Hampton's inquiries. I called him and asked
how he knew Eddie Brokaw was a reporter for Chicago Independent. When Eddie Brokaw
had only come into existence a few days before and then in an undercover role. Hampton
snapped, "Well he's been asking a lot of sensitive questions and we want to know why?"
Speed is equality, the Secret Service learned was as indispensable... After the assassination
of the president.
Compiling the scenario.
By playing one man's information off against another's, by comparing reactions to
accusations, by the use of voice stress analysis and the
polygraph (not as foolproof evidence, but merely as a good gauge within limitations), by
document analysis and other means, we were able to piece together the scenario. A scenario
which has not been contradicted or even criticized by either the authorities or the prin-
cipal players alleged to have taken part. "No comments," Memory lapses, yes. But specific
denials and contradictions — not a one.
In fact, the more treat pieces we put together, the more reluctant the Secret Service or FBI
people were. If that was any barometer of the
reliability of our sources, and the scenario we recounted is accurate.
And so, without using the word proof, we repeat: there are strong indications that there were
four men in Chicago to assassinate John F. Kennedy, November 2, 1963, twenty days before
III. The Cover-up
Looking at all the events, in perspective, we can easily see who covered up and why.
Remember that in 1963 presidential protection was disorganized. Under the law, among
federal agencies, after the assassination, the various agencies squabbled over exactly who
would take charge of the investigation: Secret Service, FBI, CIA, City of Dallas, State of
Texas. Finger pointing and buckpassing escalated into a race to avoid blame for the
President's death under the flimsiest of security precautions conceivable.
So, of course, no one wanted it known that prior to the Dallas trip there had been high alerts,
reasons for special caution. Otherwise, how does it look that the Secret Service routed
Kennedy through the most physically obvious traps, with his bubble top down, in hostile
Dallas environment. And even then not securing the warehouse as they customarily do.
So of course no one wants to admit that teletypes warned of serious assassination
conspiracies through the month of November. In New Orleans on the 17th (documented by
CBS), in Chicago on the second of the month. No one wants to admit that the FBI conveyed
advanced tips about these conspiracies, and then under orders from J. Edgar Hoover (who
bitterly hated the Kennedy brothers), didn't lift a finger to stop it.
Even today, you can call Thomas B. Coll of the FBI in Washington, and you'll hear the bitter
rivalry and buck-passing. Listen to him as he coldly defends the FBI's right to do nothing
about the presidential threats because of something call calls "jurisdiction."
Even today, you can call Ken Lynch of the Secret Service in Washington and listen to him
ignore the fact that the FBI destroyed the threat Oswald delivered 10 days before the
assassination. He'll say, "that's the FBI's problem. Not ours. Talk to them about it."
Why doesn't one agency go after the other when these disclosures come out? Or is it that all
of them are in bed together, and only if everyone covers up can they all avoid exposure?
If you approach that problem with the Cold War government mentality of dirty tricks, cover
stories, cover-ups, evidence destruction, you can see why the whitewashed investigation of
what really happened during the month of November, 1963, was just another of the misdeeds
of the era: the Bay of Pigs attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, Mafia murder contracts,
break- ins, mail interceptions, the assassination of the Diem Brothers on November 1. Why
should JFK's murder be any different?
Begin in Chicago, November 2. First, the Secret Service launches an all-out investigation
against the four-man conspiracy, blows the surveillance and can't crack their two suspects.
Then comes a second tip about Thomas Arthur Vallee.
But wait a minute. A quick check of Vallee's past with the CIA shows his involvement in the
anti-Castro assassination squads in Long Island. Back off. Get this nut off the street, but
don't squeeze them too hard. We wouldn't want that embarrassing information leaked. So
just have the local police pinch this guy. We don't even want to talk to them. A few days
after Kennedy, leaves Chicago, Vallee and everyone else will feel better.
The Chicago police oblige by covering up any information about weapons and ammunition.
Somewhere along the way, however,
someone leaked it and rumors began. Who cares? The government can always deal with
But now these four other guys. Two of them are still at large. The situation is so un-secured,
JFK cancels his visit. The investigation continues. Literally hundreds of Cubans and
Mexicans in Chicago are contacted in the next week hoping to pin down information.
In the middle of the investigation a separate group is suspected in New Orleans on November
17. What the hell is going on? How many guys out there are trying to kill him? How many
teams? What kind of money is behind them? What's the organization? They'd never
encountered anything remotely a sophisticated, professional and persistent. They couldn't
cope with it.
Just five days later, there protectee was gunned down at noon. The ground shook under the
feet of every Secret Service man. Hoover sat back and smiled at their incompetence. Out of
the smoke and screams emerges the fall guy — Lee Harvey Oswald. Like an embarrassed
police department looking to wrap up their case and quickly hang the culprit's head on their
pike for all to see, Oswald was seized upon. As their Messiah. The man who would take all
the hate, all the blame. Then before he could speak up, they crucified him in the basement of
the Dallas police station. How many millions reeled in horror? Yes, but how many dozens
in the government realized they had in fact been saved.
Like all other cover-ups before and after, the small omissions, deletions, distortions,
extractions begot larger and larger crimes. Unlike a powerful man trying to cover up any
burglary, all the resources available were subtly
used to stonewall. To stonewall in so massive of a way that the edifice began tumbling down
out of sheer size. Then came rushed and nervous support to patch up the cracks.
Far more than Watergate, it was the biggest betrayal of the American people in their history.
As dimensions may never be known. But even the little that we can see is awesome.
And dammit, it's still going full speed. Gerald Ford, who sat on the original work
commission, refuses to take another look. Ken Lynch and Thomas B. Coll are sitting there in
Washington afraid to answer questions, afraid to give the least indications. Preferring instead
to adopt Goebbel's tactics of harassing the investigators rather than responding to the
If anyone wants to find out the truth, if anyone wants to disprove that there was a conspiracy
to kill JFK in Chicago, twenty days before Dallas, it's easy. 1) show us the teletypes received
by the Chicago office during the week of November 2. There were only a few. 2) give us
the case titles on every CO file (any investigation controlled directly by the Secret Service
Chiefs office in Washington) that originated the week of November 2. 3) have Motto,
Stocks, Martineau and Strong submit to a polygraph examination. That's all. Just those three
things in the Secret Service can prove all this is nonsense, just some disgruntled sources
within their own ranks, just some journalist in Chicago trying to make a name for himself.
Okay, smart guys? Prove the conspiracy never happened. We have some of your own who
swear I did.
They swear that it was just the chance of split-second decisions that kept Kennedy from
actually flying to Chicago. That kept Thomas Arthur Vallee from falsely becoming one of
history's "lone assassins" because he worked in a well located warehouse and fit a convenient
personality stereotype. Split seconds from the world, remembering Chicago as a place they
killed the president of the United States.
Edwin Black is coordinating writer of Chicago Independent.